ErieCoLab Group Helps Clean Up Downtown Erie

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11855719_10207254539784505_32399141606548531_nDeserted lots, weeds, and trash tumbling down the street, it’s a sight you’ve likely noticed in parts of downtown Erie.

On Sunday, 20 people from the ErieCoLab took matters into their own hands. They rolled up their sleeves, grabbed rakes, shovels, and garbage bags, to clean up the city. “We’re a community, we’re a collaboration of people who basically want to start action in the community,”  Brad Ford, said of the group.

Clearing the garbage littered in an empty lot on Sassafras Street near Union Station, and picking up debris under the 14th Street overpass, were the first items on their agenda.

“Quite honestly, I don’t see Erie getting better, I see it getting worse,” said John Whaley, who spent Sunday afternoon cleaning with the group. “You see the violence, you see the dirt, taxes are going up. And so now it’s just the citizens who are going to take it back and do what we need to do.”

In addition to sprucing up downtown Erie and making the city a better place to live, organizers are hoping their efforts inspire others to step-up. “We can’t point the finger at city hall, we have to point the finger at ourselves,” said Ford. “And we need to get together and fix this. Because that’s the only way it’s going to get done.”

The clean-up near Union Station is just the beginning, the ErieCoLab has its sights set on bigger things. “We want to get more involved in politics, whether it’s the administration, whether it’s council or whether it’s all the authorities in this town,” Whaley said of the goals the group hopes to accomplish. “We want to hold their feet to the fire and ask them to do their jobs that they’re being paid to do.”

“We deserve to have a place that we all love and that’s clean,” said Abbie Urbanski, who also helped clean on Sunday. “And that people who are foreign to this city can come in and say this is actually a pretty beautiful city.”

Posted: Aug 09, 2015 6:42 PM EDT Updated: Aug 16, 2015 6:42 PM EDT